PCC selected to be center for AAC&U’s Institute on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation
Photos and Story by James Hill
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced the 78 institutions of higher education selected to participate in its 2021 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers. Portland Community College is the first and only Oregon college to be chosen. The institute will be held virtually from June 22–25.
Hosted by individual colleges and universities, and in partnership with AAC&U, TRHT Campus Centers pursue the shared goal of preparing the next generation of leaders and thinkers to break down racial hierarchies and to dismantle the belief in a hierarchy of human value. Each center implements its own visionary action plan, based on the TRHT framework, to promote racial healing through campus-community engagement. The institute is designed both to support the ongoing work of existing centers and to provide an introduction to the TRHT effort for institutions interested in hosting a new campus center.
“PCC is committed to creating a college where every student belongs and can thrive,” said Tricia Brand, PCC”s chief diversity officer. “As Portland and the nation confront long-standing racial injustice, more stories and counter-narratives are needed to challenge assumptions rooted in denial of the most profound impacts of racism.”
Brand said storytelling and narrative creation is a powerful tool for engaging conversations about race. This honor, she said, will help the college capture and transform those stories into action and impact.
“Our designing for equity at PCC will be hindered without greater capacity to talk about race and its impact on our daily perceptions and decisions across the college,” BRand said. “With nearly 40 percent of our students identifying as Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latino/a/x, or multiracial, there is a great sense of urgency and opportunity for faculty, staff, administration, and students to navigate the topic of race through coordinated, sustained and facilitated dialogues and activities.”
The THRT curriculum is focused on developing and refining transformative action plans to advance the five components of the framework — narrative change, racial healing and relationship building, separation, law and economy. Together, these five areas encompass the individual, communal and systemic structures that perpetuate arbitrary divisions based on race. Twenty leaders and changemakers from existing TRHT Campus Centers were invited to serve as mentors and work closely with teams during the institute. This work will culminate in an opportunity for discussion and feedback from mentors, participants, evaluators and the AAC&U TRHT team. Concurrent workshops will also be offered as learning opportunities for participants throughout the Institute.
“AAC&U is thrilled to partner with colleges and universities of all types and sizes across the country to advance the TRHT effort within higher education,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “We look forward to the opportunity to learn with and from the participants in the 2021 Institute and to support their efforts to promote racial equity and healing on their campuses and in their communities.”
AAC&U is the leading national association dedicated to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,200 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.